Shandong, a statue of Christ replaced with a lightning rod
by Wang Zhicheng

The statue towered above the bell tower of the Linjiazhuang church. The cross was also torn down from the church of Wuda (Inner Mongolia) and from the church of Zhumadian (Henan). For the United Front the crosses are "too visible".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - A statue of Christ the King, which dominated from the bell tower of the church of Linjiazhuang (Jinan, Shandong), has been replaced by a lightning rod (see photo).

The operation commissioned by the United Front is in line with the attempt to "sinicize" the Catholic religion, using tools and images closer to Chinese culture.

It is not clear why the lightning rod is closer to the Chinese mentality, than a statue wanted by Chinese believers. Some faithful explain that substitution is part of the many provisions implemented this year to make the signs of the Christian faith ever less visible.

Since 2014, a campaign launched by the Zhejiang Regional Communist Party has eliminated thousands of "overly visible" crosses from bell towers and church facades. The campaign then spread throughout China, especially in Henan, Xinjiang, Shanxi, Hubei, Guizhou.

Yesterday, the cross of the church of Wuda (Inner Mongolia) was removed from the bell tower. The reason expressed by the United Front is that it "is too high". The faithful and the parish priest pleaded to leave it, but in vain.

Even a cross from a church in Zhumadian (Henan) has been torn down in recent days.